Seabird Experts Flock to Cape Town


The 2nd World Seabird Conference (WSC2) will take place on 26-30 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa. The theme of the conference is Seabirds: Global Ocean Sentinels and is hosted by the World Seabird Union and the African Seabird Group.

WSC2 will unite scientists, researchers and representatives from governments, research institutions, universities, non-government organisations and other stakeholders by providing a platform to discuss issues relating to the world’s seabird populations.

Seabirds are top predators in marine ecosystems and are thus considered excellent indicators of the health of our seas. They live some of the most extreme lifestyles in the animal kingdom. Arctic Terns undertake the longest migration in the world, flying over 70,000km from pole-to-pole. Adelie Penguins breed further south than any other bird, withstanding the intense cold of Antarctica. A Laysan Albatross on Midway Island (between Hawaii and Japan) is the oldest bird ever recorded, aged (at least!) 63 years old.

In spite of such incredible adaptations, many seabirds are currently highly threatened, due to invasive predators and human impacts at breeding colonies, bycatch in fisheries, and food shortages as a result of unsustainable fishing practices and climate change.

WSC2 will build on the success of the 1st WSC held in 2010 in Victoria, Canada and will place seabirds in the global spotlight once again. Delegates at WSC2 will discuss the seabird ecology and population dynamics as well as various threats facing seabirds, mitigation efforts and seabird conservation.

Representatives from over 40 countries will attend the conference, and nearly 500 oral and poster presentations will be made over four days. Twenty-five symposia and six legacy workshops are planned hosted by experts in their respective fields, ranging from host-parasite interactions to establishing new seabird colonies to the impact of renewable energy on seabirds. The legacy workshops intend to promote collaborations and result in roadmaps for future conservation actions. The conference will also present participants the opportunity to network with colleagues from across the globe.